Tony Blair’s Speech June 14, 2019 Day of the African Child

D.A.C. SPEECH BY CHILD GUEST: TONY BLAIR  

Tony Blair, Hezron and Shen

Tony Blair, Hezron and Shen

“It is with utmost humility that today we commemorate the Day of the African Child on the 14th of June 2019. We are saddened when we recount tales of the departed souls who died at the hands of the brutal officers while defending their rights. This day came to be remembered as the Day of the African Child after hundreds of school-going children marched the streets of Soweto on June 16th 1976 protesting the poor quality of education i.e. Black Education Act. Hundreds of students were shot and killed by merciless security officers for a period of two weeks. It was the biggest inhumane treatment done to the African child, leave alone slavery. And since 1991 we came together to mourn together with the families of the departed. And for that reason let’s observe a moment of silence for the departed souls. Despite the challenges that led to the day of the African Child, we look back and are amazed by the biggest strides Africa has made towards the betterment of the African Child.

Kenya was the first country in Africa to have the Children Act in the Constitution 2001.This Act legally protects the child and supports his or her best interest. The African Child can also have access to basic free primary education in Kenya and a subsidised secondary education. What best way can a child realise his/her dreams if not through education? We are also grateful for other NGOs for supporting the government in supporting the children through education and provision of social amenities. The greater Suba, we are not short of them. Our indebt gratitude to them. For every child who is in this event or wherever, you are loved by God, by every face you see here and where you come from. That’s human so I request you child who is here to show love and compassion for your fellow when he or she lacks food and you got some share with him or her and whatever.

Just as Jesus loved the children, let our parents do the same. What are the parents cultivating in us when they fight every day at our sight? Please parents, in whatever circumstances of disagreement in the family, please keep off the child. It brings them torture and humiliation. Parents love your children as if they are the only worldly possessions you got. Our leaders, in whatever policies you make, let the children’s interests be paramount. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘One of the ways we can build a better future for the children is by empowering them through allowing them to speak for themselves, although the adults must guide them and take ultimate responsibility.’ I say that’s quite different from patronising them. The rights of the children must importantly include the right to be themselves and talk for themselves. When this is strictly taken into action from the basic unit, then we are going to live the dream of Mahatma Gandhi of seeing every child smile in Africa. When funds meant for the children are given to the children, then that’s the first humanitarian action. I tell you, the next thing after religion is humanity, just as Jesus showed compassion and humanity to children.

When Baby Pendo was shot during the violence that occurred after the election, all Kenyans with different ideologies united in support of an African child, so you woman, who kills an innocent  child through abortion, I tell you if you are not ready to care for the innocent child then use contraceptives provided freely by the government. And you man, what’s the fun in being called a deadbeat father? Why abandon a struggling wife with a child, are you not even ashamed of yourself? If you are not ready then do the same thing I told the ladies to do. We must not lose faith in humanity. Whatever problems the African child still faces today is as a result of inhuman treatment. Take for example FGM and child marriage which is rampart in Suba. If we could be human enough, these challenges facing girls could have been eradicated. Let me tell you that girls are more likely to stay healthy, more independent and become a social change only if cared for humanly. Even God will never forgive me if I fail to tell you this: Humanity is God’s action in writing and whatever is not human is ungodly. The main reason why the DAC is annually celebrated internationally (apart from commemoration of the loved ones who passed away) is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to improve the education of the African child. Approximately 57 million primary age children from Sub-Saharan Africa don’t attend any school. Education is the only weapon to fight poverty. Let’s all join hands to make the children go to school and realise their dreams- a human statement.

If all children in low income earning countries left school with just reading skills only, 171 million people could be lifted from poverty.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others? If each and every one of you could answer that question positively, then every one of us could be destined for greatness for that would be humanity. Just as a friend of mine says that for you to undertake humanitarian action you need to be joyous, selfless. Lastly as simply as it may seem, if each and everyone makes an effort towards fulfilling the basic rights of a child i.e. right to education, healthcare, shelter, food & clothing, then we are going to fulfil the theme of the day. The efforts we make are the humanitarian actions while they are made towards fulfilling children rights first hence when done across Africa, it will fulfil the theme: HUMANITARIAN ACTION IN AFRICA-THE CHILDRENS RIGHTS FIRST.Shalom.

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